A Nodame Cantabile special focusing on the Europe arc was aired recently sometime around the new year, which was a surprise to me, since although I was a fan of the series(both anime and live action), I didn't really keep tabs with the drama. The special itself is 2 hours long and there are currently two episodes.
It's Spring of 2007 and everyone in the academy has finally graduated. Due to certain circumstances, Chiaki has to leave for France much earlier than anticipated. For the first time in his life ever since he was a boy, Chiaki manages to board a plane to Europe. The first thing on his agenda was to once again bear witness to his mentor, Vieira's conducting. Overwhelmed with emotions of nostalgia and amazement, Chiaki decides to not meet up with Vieira, but to instead participate in a conductor's competition to reaffirm his abilities.
After a brief excursion of Paris, the pair head over to an apartment, which has been long owned by his mother's relatives, to stay. After moving into their respective rooms, Nodame is unable to resist the temptation of having a piano before her and begins to play. The melody attracts the other residents of the apartment, namely Frank, a French otaku and Tanya, a spunky Russian girl. Frank and Tanya were initially awed by the Japanese couple's personality, but they soon learn through the hard way that they are not what they appear to be, namely Chiaki as being a spartan instructor and Nodame as being an overly eccentric and hardcore otaku.
Soon enough, Chiaki gets ready to leave for Prague to take part in the competition. At the train station however,Chiaki and Nodame come across a couple consisting of a loud mouth and obnoxious Japanese woman and a refined Frenchman. It turns out the Frenchman, by the name of Jean, is a conductor himself, and a student of Vieira at that. Unlike Jean's girlfriend, Nodame does not follow Chiaki for the trip as she wishes to attend a locally held anime festival in France. As expected Chiaki clears the preliminaries with ease. It is during the first round that the differences in Chiaki and Jean's style become apparent. One of the ochestra members refer Chiaki as the philosophically profound Black Prince while Jean's the sensually colorful White Prince. Still, they are both equally talented.
Finally, it is time for the 3rd round, and Chiaki makes the mistake by attending Jean's performance, as he is immediately pressured by the sight of the Frenchman's skills. When his turns arrives, the now overzealous and spiteful Chiaki fumbles during his performance as he unreasonably criticizes the orchestra's performance. Realizing he has made a grave mistake, Chiaki apologizes to them, but it is already too late. The ochestra decides to ignore his conducting and play at their own accord. After the performance, Nodame comforts Chiaki over his messing up, and fortunately, he bounces back quickly and hopes for the best.
Chiaki manages to narrowly clear the round, and for the finals, he lets Nodame draw lots which will decide the piece he would conduct. It turns out to be a good one, and as means of encouragement, he receives a call from his friends back in Japan who urges and cheers him on. It turns out to be Nodame's doing as she secretly informs everyone of Chiaki's achievements in the competition thus far. Judgment day arrives, and Chiaki having come to terms with both himself and the orchestra which he wronged, not only redeems himself, but manages to give a superb performance which that enthralled both audience and judges alike. It was no doubt that Chiaki was the best among the finalist, and as such, he comes in first place. After his defeat, Jean hands Chiaki Vieira's contact, and just as they bid farewell to one another, Chiaki is suddenly assaulted by an unknown man in a black suit.......
It's been a while since I finished the original series, and I must say this sequel of sorts does not disappoint one bit. Seeing everyone back in their respective roles was a satisfying experience, to say the least. Either way, it looks like Chiaki is going to have more trouble ahead of him before he actually gets to meet his mentor, as Stressman has plans for Chiaki as well, and it's pretty obvious that the man in the black suit is one of his goons. Also judging from the preview, it seems that Chiaki and Nodame's relationship will be put in a strain, which the emergence of a possible rival for the latter. Great stuff indeed. Shin out.